A couple of weeks ago we took the kids to the Byrd theater (which, by the way, was listed in USA Today as one of the 10 great places to see a movie in splendor) to see the movie "Metamorphosis." As you may remember, when we tried to explain heaven to Anna, we used the example of the caterpillar and the butterfly to show her that someday she would be transformed and that she would be able to run, and jump, and play in her new heavenly body.
A butterfly is not a caterpillar with wings. Once the caterpillar enters the chrysalis, it can never go back to being a caterpillar. In fact, the caterpillar has to die in order to become a butterfly. The cells that make up the caterpillar parts break down inside the chrysalis and become food for the cells that grow into the butterfly parts. Besides the wings, the butterfly has totally different eyes, feet, stomach, and body than the caterpillar. Everything is new. It is a new creation!
The butterfly helped Anna understand heaven, and it helps me understand who I am as a Christian. Just as the caterpillar dies and the butterfly is created, when I placed my faith in Christ, I died to my old self and became a new creation. I am not Marlo with "peace" stuck on my arm, and "love" taped to my back. I am a new creation--as different as the caterpillar is from the butterfly. The old has gone, the new has come! Do I always feel like a butterfly? No. I often return to my caterpillar ways. I crawl around in the mud instead of flying. But if God gave us the butterfly as a picture of what it means to be a new creation, then it is impossible for me to go back to being a caterpillar--even if I act like one.
"Go in new life with Christ... Go, and be as the butterfly."
(Quote from At Home in Mitford, by Jan Karon)